What is sensorineural hearing loss?

What is sensorineural hearing loss?

By: Sara-Brooks Weems

This type of hearing loss is most common among older patients. It occurs when there is damage to the sensory nerve endings in the ear's cochlea.  Aging, noise exposure, family history of hearing loss, certain illnesses/infections, and certain toxic medications are common causes of sensorineural hearing loss.

How is sensorineural hearing loss treated?

Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent.  Once an audiologist diagnoses sensorineural hearing loss, treatment includes hearing aids/devices that are programmed to support each patient’s specific hearing loss concerns.  If left untreated, possible negative effects include:


People with hearing loss tend to be more tired at the end of the day due to an extra effort to try to listen/comprehend daily conversations.

Communication breakdown

A person with hearing loss often misunderstands or mishears what is being said to them. Understanding conversation is especially difficult in noisy places, like restaurants or gatherings.


This is a direct result of communication breakdown. When a person is not aware of their hearing loss daily conversation can be quite difficult at times. A person with hearing loss can become frustrated and will report their partner mumbles, talks too fast or is soft spoken.

Fatigue, communication breakdowns and frustration can lead to social isolation. This detachment can lead to early cognitive decline/dementia.

 Fall risks:

When a person has hearing loss it is hard for them to hear common sounds and it can make them less aware of their environment. This can lead to more stumbles, trips, and falls.

Treating hearing loss with hearing aids can reduce frustration, make listening easier, stave off early effects of cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of falls.

NCEENT Audiologists test and treat hearing loss. Call 919-595-200 for more information or to schedule an appointment.